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Musician

I had a thoroughly enjoyable year with teaching placements in Chapeltown and Cookridge, a great group of fellow students and an experience that generated a love of teaching.

Why I chose to attend Leeds Trinity University

I applied very late to do my PGCE as I had been considering what I wanted to do after my degree for a year. I had been working in a bank and then decided that I wanted to try teaching. I was impressed by the campus and the staff at Leeds Trinity when I came for interview and wanted the experience of placements in a city.

Phil Mellen main image 800.

My best memories from studying at Leeds Trinity

I had a thoroughly enjoyable year with teaching placements in Chapeltown and Cookridge, a great group of fellow students and an experience that generated a love of teaching. I also enjoyed the social life of the city and playing volleyball for the College (as it was then).

My career in education

I enjoyed fifteen years of Headship across both Primary and Secondary schools and a three-year stint as Head of a Virtual School for Looked after Children. I have also led a school through improvement journeys from ‘Requires Improvement’ to ‘Good’ and from ‘Special Measures’ to ‘Requires Improvement’ in short periods in challenging circumstances.  Overall, I have worked on improving not only the outcomes for students but also their experiences. I have also worked as a Local Leader of Education and a Pupil Premium Reviewer.

Up until 2020 I was Deputy Director for Learning, Children and Families at Leeds City Council. This role involved working with educators citywide to ensure that each and every pupil in the city has the same excellent experiences and best possible outcomes, whichever part of the city they live in. I collaborated with schools, early years providers, colleges and universities in the area to support sustainable improvements and to celebrate success.

What I loved most about leadership roles in education

I got to work with some amazing colleagues, students and communities. I loved seeing through changes that made long-term, tangible differences to student’s lives, seeing students joyful reactions to GCSE results or sporting triumphs or new experiences.

Phil Mellen with guitar.

The road to becoming a musician

I became ill with coronavirus in March 2020, while working as Deputy Director of Children and Families at Leeds City Council. I stepped back from my career in education and decided to use the period of imposed isolation and inactivity to pursue my music ambitions. My song writing was inspired by lockdown, love, life and mortality.

I got some lovely initial feedback from a number of sources, which was great, and then was offered a recording contract by Wobbly Music, an independent label based in the North West. 

I record and release under the name BlackSheepLad. Alongside singing, I play guitar, drums, keys, bass and various ukuleles. The contract with Wobbly Music is for five years and this is a dream come true as I have wanted to put out albums since I was in my early teens, and I was offered that chance at 50! Read more.

Listen to my live performances on Facebook